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Nonprofit “Mission Success” Pack

By October 17, 2016

By: Tucker MacLean, Vice President of Sales, Exponent Partners

NPSPFor almost 8 years, Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) has been a fundamental asset to thousands of organizations across the nonprofit sector. As a managed package, it has been foundational functionality that has helped many nonprofits leverage Salesforce and also take advantage of the new innovations of the Salesforce platform. It has established a standard and structure for nonprofits using Salesforce while still being adaptable enough to the unique needs of thousands of nonprofits. For example, I worked with an organization which installed NPSP seven years ago and still continues to benefit from NPSP (now version 3.0) even while both the organization and NPSP have significantly evolved.

In our practice, we’ve seen the human services and education sectors gain a lot of value from this flexible foundation for data management. Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency and Michigan College Access Network are two such organizations that are leveraging NPSP to work more efficiently. By saving time and resources over a legacy database and spreadsheets, they’ve each been able to drive more impact for their missions and invest in a solution that will endure for the long term.

Getting Their Hands on the Data

Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency is a social service agency, which provides services to low-income individuals throughout Wayne County. Their diverse programs include homeless and housing, education, and basic needs and services such as emergency utility and water assistance. Some highlights of their impact in one year include: nearly $500,000 in direct client assistance, over 6,000 enrolled in Medicaid, 65% of financial coaching clients increased their net worth, emergency utility assistance provided to 392 homes, 929 youth enrolled in afterschool programming, and 5,600 inter-agency referrals made.

When Lindsay Nickles, Communications Manager, first came to Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro), they were using a cumbersome legacy database that had no dashboard functionality and created reporting headaches. Staff couldn’t all log in at the same time to this system. They also wanted a platform that could take them into the future. “We’re very forward-thinking in using technology to engage with our clients and staff,” Lindsay said. “We wanted a system that enabled us to be out in the field more, to allow us to know our status with community members, advocates, decision makers, and funders, and to raise more money.”

Using NPSP for all their fundraising needs, Wayne Metro’s staff are able to be more efficient and have more access to results data than they’ve never had before. “Everyone can log in at the same time to see the information they need,” said Lindsay. “And our donor tracking is a lot better. [NPSP] allows for a full view of a donor or relationship. Instead of relying on constant staff communication to know what staff member is talking to what member at a foundation or corporation, we can just log into Salesforce to see phone calls, emails and even asks. It’s a one stop-shop to know what has been done and even to plan future actions. This system allows us to fully track relationships, assign actions, and ensure our individual giving plan is working or is in progress.”

Lindsay also reported that, “the greatest value to our system is having organized, logical access to all our information. Different dashboards are critical too, as development wants to see different data than communications.” Wayne Metro now finds it easier to report on donors, such as by month or by contribution amount. They can also more swiftly do monthly reconciliation with finance and respond to audits.

Using Data to Grow Relationships

Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) is an intermediary statewide organization working with multiple partners and awarding grants to individuals and nonprofits to support college access and success. In their five-year history, they grew their grantees from just a handful and expanded from two to eight staff. With each staff member managing their own domain, they did not have time to check in daily. On the other hand, all eight staff members might speak to an individual within the same month.

“We had a hard time keeping up with that change and maintaining accurate information so that we could communicate with our constituency. I would argue that those relationships are 75% of our work,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, Assistant Director for Network Development at MCAN. “We had about a thousand spreadsheets and none of them were correct at any given time. Not being able to keep up on it really slowed the work down. We needed one area where everyone could pour information about communities they worked with, without having to physically update each other.” In addition, with the complexity of MCAN’s coaching, regional divisions, and communications overlap, they needed a system that could easily slice their data multiple ways. “As we got more sophisticated, we needed a more sophisticated system to handle our information,” Fewins-Bliss said.

MCAN adopted NPSP so they could track all aspects of the complex relationships they had with their constituents. All staff members use Salesforce in their departments: advocacy and leadership, network development, statewide initiatives, partnerships, lobbying, and professional development. Having central contact records proves critical for keeping cross-departmental communications aligned. “The greatest value from our system is having up-to-date information at our fingertips, saving us time and energy,” said Fewins-Bliss.

MCAN tracks the grants they have awarded to organizations, and can verify details for an inquiry at a glance. They also track event participation and program participation for individuals and schools directly on contact records, and are able to see high-level views like which programs a given high school has participated in over time.

Even though Wayne Metro and MCAN have very different programs and goals, NPSP has helped both organizations harness information and use it for a better understanding of their efforts and greater impact on their communities. From better donor management, to a central source of relationship and activity tracking, to comprehensive reporting and analysis, NPSP has contributed not only to organizational success with data and databases but indeed greater mission success!

Revolutionizing How Nonprofits Benefit from Technology

Rem Hoffmann, the CEO and Founder of Exponent Partners, shares his thoughts on the new Nonprofit Success Pack, “NPSP has revolutionized how nonprofits benefit from technology. It has established a common language and standard for nonprofits using Salesforce, which has helped the sector align on best practices. Its structure has been a catalyst for innovation, by providing a framework for other applications to build off of and by fostering software development that has enriched the nonprofit technology space. It has provided the bridge for nonprofits to build whole organization solutions, so that all aspects of organizations can take advantage of Salesforce to drive better programs, services, and mission success. Its impacts have been far-reaching and fundamental in creating a more effective social sector.”

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About the Author
Tucker oversees Exponent Partners’ Sales team. He brings deep experience in cloud computing and the nonprofit sector, as one of the pioneers of Salesforce’s nonprofit program. Tucker was an early employee at Salesforce in 2000, and recognized the power of cloud computing to support organizations of all shapes and sizes. He helped develop’s nonprofit discount program and started building a dedicated Nonprofit and Education sales team which now serves 25,000+ nonprofit and higher education organizations using the Salesforce platform today. He joined Exponent Partners from his most recent position at Zendesk, where he was responsible for building and managing their partner ecosystem